30th Anniversary Special Edition
"All the films about black people up to now," director Melvin Van Peebles told Newsweek in 1971, "have been told through the eyes of the Anglo-Saxon majority-in their rhythms and speech and pace. In my film, the black audience finally gets a chance to see some of their own fantasies acted out...rising out of the mud and kicking a@#."
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song is the story of a young hustler (Van Peebles) whose aimless pleasure-seeking turns to radicalism after witnessing the beating of a black revolutionary by two white cops. Sweetback, driven to a state of blind rage, takes brutal revenge on the cops, f-rcing him into a desperate life on the run.
Despite a humble opening at only two theaters followed by a torrent of negative reviews, Sweetback mushroomed to $10,000,000 at the box office, landing it on Daily Variety's list of top-grossing independent films. It has also been widely credited as the film that kicked off the so-called "Blaxploitation" film movement.